Soekarno, the First President of Indonesia, founded an independent country after 350 years of Dutch colonization which suppressed nationalist aspirations, racially restricted education and treated the people (“inlanders”) as third class citizens in their own country.
With Boeng Hatta, he is the founder of the independent Republic of Indonesia.
He united his country and set it free. He liberated his people from a sense of inferiority and made them feel proud to be Indonesian after 350 years of Dutch colonial rule and three-and-a-half years of Japanese occupation.
Sukarno brought independence to Indonesia, instilled self-confidence in the people, fought to wipe out the inferiority complex imposed by the Dutch colonial attitude, expanded educational opportunities, erased the stigma of being a 3rd class citizen in their own country, created employment opportunities other than the low-level jobs that had been
their colonial destiny – babu, djongos, koelie – lowly servants to their colonial masters.
It was not easy, there was much stumbling and falling while learning. But with all the growing pains of a new nation, there was growth and achievement, there was a national identity, there was national pride, there was international recognition. That is the legacy of Sukarno.
Soekarno instilled national pride in the people, united a nation with one common language, widely expanded educational opportunities and placed the country on the world map.
He became a prominent and respected leader of the Asian and African countries and their political aspirations of freedom from imperialism, thereby becoming a thorn in the eye of western countries unwilling to release their political and economic hold on the “Third World”.
Official historic records have not been kind to him, many important documents have been destroyed after his presidency. His political aspirations have often been distorted and blackened.
Perhaps Soekarno’s greatest achievement was his projection of a vision of a unified Indonesian nation in an archipelago of great ethnic, religious, and geographical diversity. (The Encyclopedia of Asian History)